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Ever had a shoulder injury? Well, you won’t be alone as the shoulder joint is possibly the most complicated region of our musculoskeletal system.

The shoulder is a very mobile joint, allowing us to reach high overhead, behind and around our back.  That very mobility means it comes with limited stability.  Therefore problems can arise when the surrounding muscles are weak and are unable to provide the strength and stability to control its’ range of movement.

Shoulder problems can obviously be caused by trauma, such as an accident; overuse as in someone who plays a lot of sport that incorporates continual throwing; or degenerative due to arthritis or excessive wear and tear.

Rotator Cuff 

By far the most common shoulder condition is a rotator cuff injury.  Would you believe that a whopping 33 percent of people over the age of 60 have suffered from a rotator cuff tear?  The rotator cuff consists of four muscles and tendons that come from the scapula (shoulder blade) and attach all around the head of the shoulder or humerus and functions to stabilize and rotate the shoulder.

Rotator cuff tears, that are as a result of a traumatic event, will often need surgery. However, a tear that occurs over time can often improve without going under the knife.

Arthritis

Arthritis in the shoulder in nowhere near as common as it is in the hip or knee but never-the- less it does occur and the pain is just as severe.

Treatment will often be through anti-inflammatory medications and light exercise to optimize mobility and functionality.

A full shoulder replacement is the last resort and obviously relieves the day to day pain and improves the movement quality of the joint. 

Other Conditions

Shoulder bursitis is a common condition that is as a result of overuse from repetitive actions. The tiny fluid sacs around the shoulder joint become swollen and inflamed.

Frozen shoulder causes severe pain, limits the range of movement of the joint and is more common in women over the age of 40 and in diabetics.  Frustratingly frozen shoulder has no know cause. It will often be treated with a cortisone shot if it is detected within the first month of the symptoms.  Physical therapy and therapeutic stretching are also helpful.